NY Dog Trainer Blake Rodriguez Should Have His Own TV Show

Move over Cesar, NY dog trainer Blake Rodriguez should have his own TV show.

“Baxter is a dog who came in for our board-and-train program,” says Rodriguez.

Blake does an amazing job of explaining how to use a remote collar as he demonstrates in this clip with Baxter. (below)

In this video, he’s using a Mini Educator remote collar from E-collar Technologies.

This is the same e-collar Adam uses with his clients at his Reno Dog Training company, Katz Trains Dogs.



I Got Kicked Out Of A Herding Dog Trial, Today

I got kicked out of a herding dog trial today… and I wasn’t even in the trial. LOL.

They told me I couldn’t have a remote collar on my dog– even though I was sitting in the audience, far behind both the gate and the barrier. That should have been my cue to leave. So– 10 minutes later, my dog spooked when he saw the cattle come out and barked. Big whoop. As I’m trying to correct my dog back into a sit-position (using the buckle collar) a woman approaches and tells me I need to put my dog away.

Excuse me? I thought this was a dog event, not a library???

What are they worried about? The cattle getting spooked and running away? Isn’t that the whole point of training a stock dog?

Why I’m Not A 100% E-Collar Trainer

There’s no doubt that the remote electronic training collar (commonly called an “e-collar” or “shock collar”) has been one of the greatest advancements in the dog training world over the past thirty years.  If you use an e-collar intelligently, it is a safe, humane and highly effective way to train a dog.

In fact, there are some dogs that you will need to use an e-collar on because nothing else will work reliably.  For example, certain types of aggression or whining in the crate, the e-collar provides such a marked advantage that I’m grateful that we’re living in a time when we have such technology. Older methods simply aren’t as effective.

Modern e-collars can be adjusted to perfectly match the temperament of the dog you’re working.  There’s something about the texture of the correction that cuts through the dog’s focus on other things and allows you to get and keep attention like no other training tool.  I’m not talking about a shock, either– as this can be observed with very low levels of stimulation.


The e-collar allows you to work a dog with precision at distances that simply aren’t achievable with a long line.  For example, directional send-aways, or flushing birds from bushes.  (Although such distance work may be of dubious value for the average pet owner).

“Another Dog Trainer Asked Me Why I’m Not A 100% E-collar Trainer…”

No doubt, the e-collar is a remarkable tool.  In the hands of a competent trainer, one can achieve competition-level obedience in days rather than months or years.

At a recent dog event, another trainer asked me why I’m not a 100% e-collar trainer?

Here are the following reasons why I’m not a 100% e-collar trainer, and under what circumstances I might consider being one:


  • I own an electric screwdriver, but I still use my trusty old-fashioned screwdriver, too.  Sometimes, being able to grab a screwdriver out of a drawer is much easier and faster than having to go find my electric screwdriver, make sure the battery is charged, replace the bit and then lug it through the house just to tighten one little screw.  The e-collar is the same way.  When your dog is in the house with you, you’d better make sure you have that e-collar transmitter nearby.  Even when you’re eating dinner.   Even while you’re watching television.  Even when you run out with the dog to get the mail.  Set it on the table next to you and when the dog runs out of the room, you’d better remember to not immediately chase after; If you do, you’ll have to… go back and grab the transmitter.  It’s a hassle.  Just like an old-fashioned screw driver, sometimes having your dog wear a prong collar and tab is just-so-much-easier.  You can go straight to the dog and immediately correct the behavior because he’s wearing the tool you use to correct him.  Did the dog you’re working with jump up and nip at you?  Just grab the tab and give a tug.  Done.  No fumbling for your e-collar.  No flipping it over, making sure it’s on and trying to figure out which button to press.  Did you forget to charge it?  Tough.  Yeah, yeah… I can hear my detractors already: “It’s not that hard, it’s just pressing a button.”  I agree.  So is using an electric screwdriver.  It’s just that sometimes it’s still easier to use a good old-fashioned screwdriver.  Call me a Luddite.


  •  Sometimes your dog needs to know that the correction is coming from you.  Training is about establishing a relationship with your dog.  Sure, there are many, many times when the inpersonal nature of an e-collar correction is incredibly beneficial to reaching your goal, especially with behavior modification.  However, to achieve a balanced relationship with your dog there are times when your dog needs to respect your authority… even if he’s not wearing an e-collar. It’s reasonable to expect that– sometime during your dog’s 15+ year lifespan– there will be a time or circumstance when he is not wearing an e-collar.  Your dog still needs to listen to you.  100% e-collar trainers will reply by taking the e-collar off their dog and showing that– yes– there dog still responds to commands.  That’s because he’s conditioned to respond to commands.  (And that’s a good thing!)  But put the dog in a new circumstance around new distractions and he may not respond.  This is not a criticism specific to the e-collar, either.  It’s true of all training devices.  This is why sometimes it’s important to physically make the dog do an exercise, so that he learns you will make him listen, regardless of the tool you’re using.  This way, the tool (the training collar) becomes an adjunct to your relationship with your dog, not a crutch.  “I’m going to make you do the behavior/stop doing the behavior, regardless… this tool just makes it easier for me.”


  • There are some people who will never, ever use an e-collar but they ** will ** use a mechanical training collar.  I don’t typically cater to people who come to me for advice… and then tell me what tools I can or cannot use.  If you want my help, then you’re going to use my tools.  And there’s a good reason for that: I know what works.  But if a client prefers to use a prong collar instead of an e-collar… and I know that e-collar will work just as fast… I’ll do it.  For example: When a dog owner wants to teach their dog to walk on a loose leash… I can teach the dog to walk without pulling by using a prong collar just as fast as I can with an e-collar.  Sometimes faster, actually.  Is it worth losing a potential client because, “when all you’ve got is a hammer…” You know the rest.


  • For some dog owners, there’s no point in buying a $200 training collar if a $15 training collar will work just as well.  I sell Do-It-Yourself dog training information products on the internet.  Sometimes, a dog owner is looking for a way to fix one simple behavior.  Like jumping up.  Why do they need to buy a $200 tool (an e-collar) when a $15 tool (a prong collar) will work just as well?  It doesn’t make any sense to spend the $200 when the dog owner is happy with everything else about their dog.


So, with that being said: Under what circumstances would I become a 100% e-collar trainer?

  • If/When I open another brick and mortar dog training company.  When I have the luxury of working with a dog owner face-to-face, I will promote a 100% e-collar training system.  Why?  Because when you have a local business, each and every client is a salesperson for your business.  I want to know that if they’ve gone through my in-kennel program and they’re walking around town with a t-shirt advertising my company name on their back… that there dog will be better behaved than any other dog training school in town.  And if a dog owner is looking for a one-shot fix? I’ll still recommend they get one of my dog training books.  But if they want to work with me in person then their dog will be a representative of my school and must be able to sit/down/heel/come/stay in any off-leash setting.  Sure, you can do all of this with a traditional training collar too– but the e-collar makes it much faster and easier.  And when time is money and I’m there to show them how it works… the e-collar usually makes more sense.


  • If I Was Training Dogs Exclusively For Competition Or For Working Dog Applications.
    It’s much easier and faster to get the type of high level consistency and flash when using the e-collar than with any other tool. When training high drive, hard temperament working dogs, the e-collar is par excellence.


  •  When I Train My Next Demo Dog.  Same reasons as above:  Just like I did with my current dog, the e-collar is too powerful a tool not to use.  The trick is to not use it to the exclusion of other tools.


  • If I Was Training Dogs Exclusively For The Handicapped.  The e-collar is especially useful for those with physical handicaps.  It’s much easier to simply press a button than to manipulate a leash.


Do I recommend that you get an e-collar? It’s not necessary.  Neither are electric screwdrivers in most cases.  But they sure do make life easier.

Man Has Shocking Success With Shock Collar Training Tips

George originally contacted me for some shock collar training tips (or what we in the industry call: a remote collar or often just an “e-collar”).

A Few Weeks Later He Sent Me This Letter
About The Shock Collar Training Tips
He Had Learned At DogProblems.com

A few weeks later, he sent me this nice follow-up letter about what happened when he started using his new shock collar on his bulldog.

“I’m writing this letter because it’s important that dog owners who aren’t familiar with the shock collar learn that– if you use common sense and learn some basic shock collar training tips– you can get incredible results with this training tool.  In fact, there are things you can do with the shock collar that you cannot do with any other dog training equipment.  But more on that in another article.

He Learned To Teach The Down-Stay and To Be
Off-Leash In The Front Yard, All From The
Shock Collar Training Tips He Had Learned

shock collar training tipsGeorge wrote: “Just following up on my last letter regarding the e-collar use to teach the down-stay and off leash obedience in the front yard. I was able to teach my dog (a bulldog) the down-stay after two days of using the  e-collar. I corrected him twice when free roaming in the front yard off leash and he won’t even think about going in the street or running away from me just after a few corrections. At this point after a two day session he learned the down command without me having to bend over, no touch and not even having to press the nick button anymore. The e-collar I must say was well worth the money spent because the results that I am getting are so quick and reliable it is truly amazing. I had my dog on a down stay for an hour last night until I released him. I also started proofing him with food 1 foot away from him and he still stayed down. The point of this letter is really to let anyone else know that is thinking of using an e-collar, when used correctly that it is superior to any other tool I’ve used with the quickest results and with no physical contact.

For more shock collar training tips, take a look at our e-collar training section

Dog Runs Away From Him When Off Leash: Will An E-collar Help

George wrote to me with an interesting question about what happens when his dog runs away from him when off leash:

Hi Adam: I know it is good to let your dog roam freely on a long line. I have been using an e-collar and a pinch collar (I use the pinch collar at this point only for walking). My question is: if I let my dog roam freely with an e collar instead of a 50 ft long line and my dog decides to run… will an e collar correction make him stop running assuming that happens?

“When My Dog Runs Away From Me,
Will An E-collar Correction Stop Him?”

dog runs away
dog runs away

Also how do you use an e collar to train your dog to go down ? I have been using your techniques for about 6 months and my dog is really transforming to the point where it is a pleasure now. My dog was a high energy 15 month male Victorian bulldog who was very stubborn and I am now at the point where he has full trust in me, respects me and it really is a pleasure working with him, thanks to your techniques that I have been using consistently. I would have never thought I would have been able to make him hold a down stay from 30 yards away for at least 10 min and listen to my release command (it really is a good feeling being able to do that). I just need to teach how to go down without physical contact preferably using the e collar.

Thanks in advance.  — George.

Will An E-collar Really Help When Your Dog Runs Away From You?

Adam replies: Yes, it will. But I recommend that you use the long line with the e-collar the first few times so that you can use the line to “direct him” back to you. Otherwise he might not understand what the correction is for. Also– as the intensity of the distraction increases, so must the intensity of your stim.

To use the e-collar to teach the ‘down’: It’s best to revert back to the same technique you used to teach the ‘down’ with the leash, but hold the e-collar in your right hand instead of the leash, say, “Down!” and then tap, tap, tap on the e-collar whil you push behind the front shoulders and rock the dog into the down position (just as you would with the leash.

The e-collar setting for the initial obedience introduction should be set so that the dog just barely feels the stim.

Do enough repetitions and sessions until you see the dog start to do it with only the stim and no physical touch. Then it’s just a matter of reinforcement and proofing, same as you would with the leash– but with the ecollar the whole process goes much faster.

The main thing to be aware of is that the dog:

1. Understands the command: You need to ‘re-teach’ the behavior with the e-collar, initially.

2. Understands that the stim is coming from you: If the dog is showing aggression toward another command and feels the stim but does not associate it with you, he will associate it with the other dog and this will increase his aggressive response. This is why detractors of the e-collar will tell you that the e-collar increases aggression. It’s not true: Misuse of the e-collar increases aggression. In contrast, intelligent use of the e-collar will decrease aggression, dramatically.

In sum, the e-collar can be used to both fix aggression problems and to improve your recall command when your dog runs away from you.

Getting Started With The Remote Electronic Collar

This is Shorty’s first session with the e-collar.

What I’m doing here is: I’m tapping the dog with the stimulation (what we’ll refer to as “the stim”) … every time you hear me give a command. I personally only use the remote collar on about 5% of the dogs that I work with. For very much the same reason that we own an electric screw driver, but usually just use a regular screw driver.

With my system of dog training, I’ve found it to be easier on the dog if you introduce the e-collar AFTER you’ve taught your dog the basic commands … during the proofing phase of training.

We’re doing this foundation work with the e-collar now, so that we can use it later, when we teach more advanced exercises.

E-collar Use – When To Use The Nick Or The Continuous Stim

Leslie asks: I am unsure of when to use the nick or the continuous stim. button on my remote with the e collar. I have only used the nick, for example at a low setting when the dog seems to be walking too far in front of me while off leash, as a reminder that I should be his focus. I use the collar at a higher setting if he doesn’t follow my command while off leash. He may be sniffing when I tell him to come and his response is not immediate so I say “no” nick button then issues come command. I have also used the nick button when he barks at the doorbell even when I have told him “quiet”. He also seems to be “transmitter smart” and will stop barking if he sees me get the transmitter. I love training this dog and I love how responsive he is. I want to get it right and not confuse him. – Thanks, Leslie.

Adam replies: Hi, Leslie:

At this point in your training, the dog needs to be wearing a training collar, any time he’s with you and not in the crate. Reference: Three Keys To Successful Behavior Modification, in the book.

I only use the nick feature. Continuous stim is a different approach to the e-collar where the trainer pushes the button (keeping it down) on a low level, says the command, and then releases the button when the dog does the behavior. Some trainers (Jim Dobbs) are masterful at using this approach. I’ve tested it quite extensively and it is not a training style that is either easy to get quick results with, or easy on the dog if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing. Avoid using the continuous stim, unless you’re working with a trainer who can help you with it.

As for your off leash usage: What you’re going to want to do is this, instead: Call him and give him a tap (stim) immediately as you call him. Do it every time, and you’ll see that he develops instant response to your commands. You’ll get to a point where he’s so conditioned, you probably won’t even need to use the stim every time, after a few months. But most e-collar trainers (myself included) will tell you that if you’re working the dog around various and different distractions in his life, reinforcement is forever. It’s just a way of communicating with the dog.


E-collar For The Ambulation Impaired Dog Handler

Hi Adam,

I’ve been reading the comments about the E-collar and the whole concept is quite interesting. We have never used one before; however, we know of someone who had good success with perimeter training and quieting the bark on their toy dog. My husband, who used to do all the training of our dogs, is now limited by the use of his rolling walker, which is the new norm for him.

One technique that he used to like to use was William Koehler’s lounge line exercise and for obvious reasons, he feel lost not being able to do that anymore. The other day he stated he wished he could find a way to work with the dogs again like he used to, other than teaching the sit/down, etc. We value your opinion highly and if you have any information/training techniques for a person with this sort of a challenge, it would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you, Donna MT


Hi, Donna:

In his time, William Koehler was a giant in the field. He was the Sigmund Freud of dog training. But much like Freud, many of his techniques have been improved upon. I’ve talked with several trainers who knew him personally (and his son, Dick, who just passed away a few years ago). I think his daughter is still active in training– and they’ve said that if W. Koehler was still around, he’d likely be using techniques similar to what I teach.

He was the top trainer for Disney and trained the dogs for most of the films you probably grew up watching and loving.

Anyway– to your point: The easiest way to use the e-collar would be for you to train the dog first with the pinch collar and long line, and then bring the e-collar in, by synchronizing the tug on the leash with a light “stim”.

Once the dog understands the five obedience exercises (sit, down, come, heel, stay) with the pinch collar– and after you’ve spent a week synchronizing the two, you can stop with the leash tug and just use the stim and your dog should understand it. From there, you can transfer it over to your husband.

You can teach the dog to go to a “place board” (use the climb command, and then correct him back onto the board if you haven’t given him the “release” command. And then use the “Come” command to get him to come back to you, gradually extending the distance between running out TO THE BOARD and then back to you.

That’s what I’m doing in this video.

Once your dog understands this exercise, your husband can sit in a chair, send the dog 200 feet away to the board, make him do sits and downs, and then the recall back to him. If you get really tricky with it, you can teach the dog the “drop on recall” too. You husband can give the dog quite a good training workout, without having to get up out of the chair!

Keep me posted.